Home Governance HIV Strikes! …Nearly 20,000 On Treatment Here

HIV Strikes! …Nearly 20,000 On Treatment Here

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MONROVIA: Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, has disclosed that as of December 2021, 19,855 adults are on treatment among all adults living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection or (HIV) in the country.

She said, as for Tuberculosis or (TB), Liberia has notified 7,445 cases of all forms of TB with a 99 percent treatment success rate. She added that 95 percent of suspected malaria cases are receiving Parasitological test at public health facilities.

Minister Jallah made the statement over the weekend at a local guest house in Monrovia at the start of a first consultative dialogue engagement meeting with Liberian journalists under the theme: “Expanding Media Engagement and Keeping Issues of Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria High on The News Agenda. The forum was organized by the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM), known globally as Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), with support from USAID in partnership with the Global Fund.

According to the Health Minister, for COVID, Liberia was able to increase testing and roll out vaccination, thereby drastically reducing community spread. She stressed that despite these successes, we all believe and know that expanding our engagement with the media and utilizing the media in all its forms would bring greater success than what we have now.

“For example, expanding Human immunodeficiency virus infection or (HIV) testing and treatment, reducing and or eradicating stigma associated with HIV could all be substantively dealt with if we partner with the media and use the Media effectively,” Minister Jallah said.

Speaking further she said as for malaria, the utilization of mosquito nets is still a challenge, and the media can help all Liberians to improve bed nets utilization.

She added health officials depend on the media to help them in the fight against COVID. “We need to encourage more persons to get vaccinated,” she stressed.

“As we present and discuss today on our perspective of expanding media engagement, let us all be reminded that the more we engage the media, the better the services we provide for HIV, TB, malaria and COVID will be utilized,” she noted.

She pointed out that Liberia could have never come this far in its fight against Tuberculosis or (HIV), Malaria and COVID if the media had not played its part in transmitting the necessary information for public consumption.

The Liberian Health Minister added that the media played a pivotal role in disseminating the necessary information that the public use to know about Human immunodeficiency virus infection, Tuberculosis, Malaria and COVID.

She added that through the media, the public knows how to prevent TB, Malaria, and we were able to minimize the spread of COVID.

Giving an overview of the program, Mr. Solomon Y.W. Watkins, the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM), Technical Officer and also Media Advisor, lauded Liberian journalists for attending its first consultative dialogue engagement meeting which he said is being held ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day which is observed on 24, March, each year.

Mr. Watkins who is also a Liberian journalist, said that the consultative dialogue engagement meeting with journalists was also designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease.

He added that the dialogue engagement with the journalists’ program is taking place a week ahead of the celebration of this year’s World Human immunodeficiency virus infection or (TB) Day.

According to him, in 2018, 10 million people fell ill with Human immunodeficiency virus infection or (TB), and 1.5 million died from the disease, mostly in low and middle-income countries like Liberia and bulk of these resources directed toward TB control is provided by the Global Fund.

Also speaking at the occasion, the head of Secretariat of the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM), Mr. William E. Walker, indicated that, the LCM was established in 2006, and is a national body responsible for the development and submission of funding applications to the Global Fund to Fight Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria on behalf of Liberia.

Mr. Walker, stressed that the LCM also nominates Principal Recipient(s) to execute grants awarded by the Global Fund, oversees grant implementation and ensures linkages and consistency between Global Fund grants and other national health and development programs in Liberia.

He said Liberia benefits from a three (3) years Global Fund grant of over US$101.745 for Human immunodeficiency virus infection HIV, TB, and Malaria, including building resilient and sustainable systems for health and reducing the impact of COVID 19 on Liberia (US$77.7 million grant support to HIV, TB, and Malaria, including building resilient and sustainable systems for health, and US$24.045 million to fight COVID 19).

Mr. Walker, further disclosed that, the Liberia’s Health Ministry and Plan International are the two Principal Recipients (PRs) for the Global Fund grants.

“The LCM, as the medium through which the Global Fund is supporting Liberia’s health sector, believes partnership with the media will help reduce myths and misconceptions about the three diseases TB/HIV and Malaria as well as increase demand for public confidence and access to health services utilization as part of its communication strategy,” he added.

The one-day engagement dialogue brought together over 40 practicing journalists drawn from several media institutions in Montserrado and Margibi counties which discussed issues around the media response to health-related subjects in Liberia including the COVID 19.

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